Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I like Twitter & Facebook

Some of the videos making fun of Facebook & Twitter are the funniest on the internet, especially Julian Smith's "25 Things I Hate About Facebook" and Supernew's "Trouble With Twitter." One of the best articles I've read about Twitter is from Relevant Magazine: "Twitter: What's It Doing To Us?"

With both sites, especially Twitter, there is the possibility of some serious self-absorption. Also with both sites there is the potential of some serious wasting of time. Come on, how many quizzes can you take along the line of "Which childhood cartoon villain are you mostly likely to have your favorite dinner with on your favorite holiday?"

Considering the negative aspects and justified videos making fun of the sites, I do think there are good things about Facebook and Twitter. For myself it all comes down to purpose and balance.

I use the two sites as a tool to help stay current with friends and family. I say they are a tool because I don't see them as the primary means of communication. But, as our way of life gets seemingly bigger and busier, Twitter and Facebook help facilitate a sense of smallness. As my bud Kevin stated it, in a paraphrased nutshell: "in the old villages everyone knew everyone and what was going on with everyone, the same in small towns. You can use Facebook & Twitter to bring that closer community into our bigger and busier lives." That sense of closer community is what I appreciate about Facebook & Twitter.

For example, I didn't have to ask my friend Lety from church last week the social cliche "how are things going?" Because she made a Twitter update I was able to ask, "How was the movie with the kids yesterday?" This is the biggest of the sites for me - they help me stay somewhat current with people I may only get to see once or twice a week, or for some even less.

Some would say, "but I don't want to know everything about everyone." That's a pretty big exaggeration, and even if it were true, I would agree, I don't either. But that's not what Twitter/Facebook is about - at least not with the people I interact with. It's about the big things happening in the day - the big events and the big thoughts. But clarifiying again, they are not the primary means for sharing and to obtain community, they are tools.

Being able to share pictures/videos via Twitter/Facebook is also great in connecting with people and staying current. I can share with people how Baylee is and how she is growing up with those who may not get to see her that often. Plus I can see what others having going on.

But, it's also about BALANCE. An hour is a LONG time to be in front of Facebook or Twitter. Toddlers aren't the only ones who need to hear, "Go outside and play." Probably 2/3 of the people on Facebook need to hear it as well.

I think Twitter & Facebook are great - especially if they are linked! If you are on Facebook you can install the Twitter app and have Twitter update your Facebook status, then you only need one log-in. When they work together they are pretty sweet tools to be able to hear what's going on in the lives of others.


Kevin said...

I'm a big fan of twitter primarily because its mobile and simple.

No ads, no silly quizes, limited information, it updates Facebook for me and I can do it on the go while I'm doing life rather than while I'm parked on my half-moons in front of a computer.

amy said...

great thoughts

John said...

I resisted FB for a long time...thinking that my time spent would be a waste...boy was I wrong! I've been able to connect with a lot of people in the two locations that I pastor. I'm learning and remembering names and getting to know people better. Thanks for proselytizing – for literally signing me up! 